Illinois officials announced on Thursday that the state is distributing $31.5 million in grants funded by marijuana tax revenue to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
The funds are part of the state’s Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program, which was established under Illinois’s adult-use cannabis legalization law. It requires 25 percent of marijuana tax dollars to be put in that fund and used to provide disadvantaged people with services such as legal aid, youth development, community reentry and financial support.
For this round, 80 organizations that offer such services for eligible communities were chosen by the R3 board. Grant recipients include local governments, faith-based organizations and businesses.
According to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), the state received 398 completed applications for the grants.
— ICJIA (@ICJIA_Illinois) January 21, 2021
Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton (D), who chairs the board and has repeatedly discussed the need to couple legalization with social equity, told The Chicago Sun-Times that there was an outpouring of interest in the funding opportunity, and so the state had to be diligent when reviewing applications, holding webinars and meetings to determine how best to allocate the grant money.
“The R3 program will tackle chronic problems that have gone unaddressed for far too long in our underserved neighborhoods,” Stratton said in a press release. “The collaboration between the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Initiative and ICJIA is innovative and reinvents the grant process with community inclusion and promotes a standard for equity and success that other states will hopefully take note of and emulate.”
The #R3 program invests 25% of tax revenues from adult-use cannabis into communities most impacted by mass incarceration and historic